According to the Mental Health Foundation, 48% of adults state that sleeping badly has a negative effect on their mental health. You’ve likely experienced this firsthand too, waking up from a restless night feeling grouchy, anxious and far from your best.
You see, sleep and mental health are tangled up together. When you’re struggling, getting to sleep can be a challenge, but when you’re unable to sleep, it can take a toll on your mood too.
This Mental Health Awareness Week, we want to share with you why sleep is important for mental health and some actionable ways to make getting a good night’s rest a little easier.
Why is sleep important for mental health?
Good sleep is at the center of good health. It’s your body and brain’s chance to switch off, return to neutral, and repair and rejuvenate for the next day. It’s no wonder, then, that a bad night can impact your mood.
A study by the University of Pennsylvania found that subjects who were limited to only 4.5 hours of sleep a night for one week reported feeling more stressed, angry, sad and mentally drained.
Over time, this can lead to mental health problems. Mind UK, a leading mental health charity, notes that those who struggle to sleep are more likely to:
- Feel anxious or depressed
- Have psychotic episodes
- Feel lonely or isolated
- Feel irritable
- Have problems with day-to-day-life
When you’re sleeping well, however, your mood massively improves.
Now, we know that getting to sleep isn’t easy so we’ve come up with 5 simple tips to help you out. We’d love you to try them all, but even implementing one or two can make a difference.
5 tips for better sleep
1. Create a routine
Consistency is key to good sleep. Setting some time to unwind in the evening can help prep your body and brain for bed, even if you only have a few minutes to spare.
2. Wash off the day
Before you roll straight into bed, try taking a hot shower. Scientists have found that hot water mimics your natural drop in body temperature that occurs night-time, triggering a similarly sleepy reaction. You can even use our Sleep Better bath and shower wash to relax the mind.
3. ‘Brain dump’ your worries
If your mind races when it’s time to slow down, try dumping your thoughts down on paper. Research shows journaling before bed can help with anxiety.
4. Screen-free time
Screens are a big sleep saboteur. Why not try setting a screen time curfew or putting your devices in another room?
5. Mindful breathing
If stress is keeping you up, mindful breathing might be for you. Simply inhale for 4 seconds, hold for 7 seconds, and exhale for 8 seconds. Repeat until you feel more relaxed.
Your sleep journey
We encourage you to be kind to yourself on your journey to a better night’s rest and reach out to a loved one or medical practitioner if you need extra help.